"There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion" Francis Bacon 1561-1626

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Tantrums and Tears on the Exhibition Trail.

Serene Gliding or Frantic Paddling

Chris has, on more than one occasion referred to my artistic endeavours as “swanlike”.

“Most people” he says “just see the nice ordered results (serene gliding), I on the other hand see all the angst, the swearing, the paper tearing and the tears, the ranting and general turmoil (frantic paddling) that you seem to need to create in order to produce something.”

How true..How true… and the last few days have been full of all of the above.

 My Trash Can Runneth Over

I have met one or two artists who live in a sort of dreamy la la land but not many. Most of us get up in the morning to face the creative day with some trepidation. My personal war with bits of paper will never be won and if my battles with pencils and brushes have slackened off a bit over the years, computers, printers, scanners and their attendant software have jumped in eagerly to fill the gap.

All I wanted to do is get some leaflets, handouts and cards designed for the show. It has to be done.. and now. The cause of all the bad temper is that I am having to learn Illustrator on the hoof and quickly, and thinking it might resemble Photoshop in some way was my big mistake! (exactly why can’t I crop an image in Illustrator?). My progress is glacial and an ice age will probably come and go before I really understand it. Then, when after 72 hours of mind numbing key stroking and Wacom tapping I have one image, I find that my printer will not print it correctly and that anyway the colours are so wildly different (and yes I do know all about colour calibration and those expensive machines you can buy..) from those on the screen that it almost renders the whole thing pointless. I know this is inevitable and it doesn’t help that I only have a laptop and a cheap printer.

So last week I decided to go the professional route and have a printer print me some cards. They are a very good company who ask you to supply 5 images which they test print for you. But the results were grim… Day-Glo greens and pinks and heavy saturated blacks.. sigh.

So I tried to get something printed at home which I could then send to the printer to indicate the colour I wanted. Then of course everything conspires against me. The printer runs out of ink, it chews up the paper and spits it out it at me, it point blank refuses to print without a white line at the bottom of everything despite having a million “borderless” settings, all of which I tried.. I even tried to catch it unawares by printing a larger image on smaller paper, in reverse upside down and back to front.  Illustrator crashes, Acdsee crashes, Photoshop hangs… they all refuse to play ball with Adobe Bridge and I see my life shortening rapidly before my tired and bleary eyes.

But I am nothing if not dogged and today was my deadline so the three pathetic images I did manage to coax out of the wretched machines have been sent.  I will be blissfully unaware of the colours my files have printed until I arrive in the UK a week before the show.. what a lovely surprise that will be?

Meanwhile that is not the end to the frantic paddling, the swearing and the tears. I still have the framing, the mounting, the words, the prints, the cards.. and myself… to whip into shape.

Hard Won 

buzz posters and handoutbuzz a4 poster

and a small bee badge for my sidebar!

 bdge 3 

I know you young, computer savvy, things will be snickering but I was brought up with only a scalpel, cow gum and a typescale….. and we had nowt to eat but bread and scrape and kept coal in’t bath wi’ whippet… luxury.

I am now going to have a go at  being that bit of swanlike I am least good at. I am going to try and coax a salad onto the table with NO SHOUTING.

20 comments:

Jane said...

I know I shouldn't laugh, but your description of the mishaps of this week at least put my problems into perspective. Oh, how I do commiserate with you. I used to work in a graphic design studio/printers when I left art college, so I know just what you are going through. If it's any consolation (I know it probably isn't) but it all looks beautiful! Jane

Lynne said...

Valerie- Your bees look just fine from my side of the monitor! I suspect the bright colours will look just right in the cool light of the UK (Florida has very bright light, as I remember).
Hope all goes well.

Richard Downes said...

Dear Val
This is in response to several of your recent posts on Pencil and Leaf, particularly the one about taking time to do things.
I feel your frustration with having to do things in a rush, with software that won't do what you want it to. Also some tension about what promises to be a terrific exhibition - maybe home town performance anxiety? Home country at least.
Anyway - there's a book published in early 1980s called "The Flowering of Britain." (Authors Mabey and Evans I think - lost my copy - too many house moves.) They talk about how the arrival of spring is measured in scientific terms. There are virtual lines like isobars (isochimes?) that connect points of all the simultaneous first openings of a marker species of flower. In Britain this line apparently starts at Lands End and moves north and east up into Scotland, and its average speed is 4 miles per hour. They comment that this is the speed of a person walking across level ground, and offer the satisfying image of some-one walking the length of the British Isles while spring flowers open up in front of them, like an unrolling carpet...
Thought this image might sustain you, between now and your exhibition opening, better than saying, It'll bee all right on the night.
Best wishes
Richard

patientgardener said...

Goodness you would think in the IT mad US you would be able to sort something out. I am really hoping to get to your show. Can you email me one of your posters. Also happy to promote it on my blog if you would like.

Hoping to finish my nectarines at art tonight - not in the same league but we have to start somewhere!

Anonymous said...

I wish I could see your exhibit as it sounds lovely; however, it is a bit off my beaten path.

As for the salad, well, did you get it on the table?

gretchen said...

Poor Val! Isn't it incredible how what amounts to pieces of plastic and bits of wire can both control and destroy our sanity and put our very daily existence into such horrid turmoil? I must admit though, despite my deepest empathy and understanding, it's a good thing I was not drinking my cup of tea when I read this post as I would have sprayed said cup of tea all over my own computer from laughing out loud- not AT you- but because I recognized myself in every word. (I think you could have a second career in writing!)
Ah we artist suffer so for our art, don't we?
hope your day is free from any more techi woes!
~gretchen

Ellen Rathbone said...

While I am no artist, I feel your pain. I've had similar battles with the computer and printer at work when trying to print out brochures and the like. Colors are off in a big way.

And don't even get me started on the trials and tribulations of the expensive digital camera which turns out #()$@* photos instead of the beautiful nature shots I used to get on film.

Baby steps. Like you and Illustrator, I now have a very thick and heavy book to read about my camera and hopefully will eventually master the thing.

Good luck with your challenges!

Dan said...

Hi Val
Well I think these were worth the tears and the tantrums - they look brilliant!
Now go an enjoy a relaxing bath with the whippet and forget about all this new-fangled computery stuff for a little while!
Best wishes
Dan

Melanie said...

technology is great when it works smoothly but more often than not it doesn't.

jodi (bloomingwriter) said...

Oh, Val. I feel your frustration, but I...confess...I giggled a lot. In sympathy, mind you. The end results of all your labour, however, are quite wonderful.

Printers are the spawn of Satan in my books. They sit quietly on desks or bookshelves, thinking up new ways to send us into paroxysms of fury. I actually took the late unlamented one I had before the current one and DROPPED IT ON THE BARN'S CONCRETE FLOOR. It was a most satisfying thing to do. Then I hit it with a ball peen hammer to finish it off.

The current printer actually works quite well. I told it what had happened to its predecessor. Showed it a picture taken with my iPhone. Electronic stuff mostly knows not to mess with me. Hah!

sharp green pencil said...

Thank you all. Its now Friday and just 8 weeks before I fly to UK which seems no time at all, but it was very very nice to get your funny, kind and supportive comments! No serene gliding in sight yet but frantic paddling abated temporarily!
...back to answer you all in due course!

Lucy Corrander said...

It doesn't seem to have struck manufacturers of printers that we might like to see some connection between what's on the screen and what can be produced on paper.

I enjoyed Richard's comment about spring unfolding at our feet and, like Patient Gardener, would be happy to blog-promote your exhibition. (Too far from London to make much impression with 'proper' posters, I'm afraid.)

Hope the frazzled time passes soon and all you will be left with to feel is pride in what you have achieved.

greenman said...

I'm very sad.
As you might know, I live in Portugal.
When I read about your exhibit I was trilled for just a few seconds.
I'm going to stay in London from the 27th May till the 30th May...
You can see why I'm very disapointed.
I'm going to miss your exhibition by two days...
I'm sad. (I've already said that, but it's true...)

greenman said...

... And, by the way, the leaflets look great!

sharp green pencil said...

Grreenman you are so kind ..and I think we might just be able to meet up! ..

Threadspider said...

I meant to comment yesterday on your heartfelt and wonderful post about the tribulations of computers.Why does everything involving the darn things end up being more complicated than it need be?
The leaflets look great-hope they match up to your expectations in due course.

Shady Gardener said...

Hi Val, I'm sorry you've had to go through all this... why is it so difficult after all YOU have already accomplished in preparation??

Hope everything works out well from here on out! :-)

sharp green pencil said...

Threadspider.. thank you! You know there were days when you just took things to nice local printer. :)

sharp green pencil said...

Hi SG.. Thank you for your kind thoughts as always.. I hope so too! I have almost got the peripherals out of the way now and can get back to painting! these days its almost expected that you can "just" run up a poster or "just" make a card etc etc. and I wish I wasn't so fussy sometimes!

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